Turning Failure into Profit

Untitled designGet ahead of your competitors but understating this powerful key called FAILURE.  The dictionary defines failure as breakdown, collapse and disappointment.  But the dictionary fails to capture the greater meaning of the word.

Your view of the word failure can hugely determine your success and what you become.   Yes, failure can be a great letdown and frustration but you can redefine the word to suit you because whatever you think you become.    Failure can mean lessons learned, opportunity, direction and discovery.  How you interpret this one powerful word is entirely your choice and which will determine who you go on to become.  Can failure define you?  Yes.   Can failure hold you back?  Yes.  Can failure make you a success?  Yes.  Can failure be a useful tool in your life?  Yes.  Failure is exactly what you allow it to be.  Failure is simply a word to describe an experience.  What you do with that word and that experience is that will make you or break you.

Failure is an essential ingredient of success.  Without failure you cannot succeed.

Here are some examples of people who could have taken things to heart and not reach their potential, thankfully they didn’t and look what they achieved.

J.K. Rowling 

Penniless, depressed, divorced and a single mum whose first book was rejected by 12 publishers went on to create Harry Potter, a global brand estimated to be worth $15 billion today.  This is what J.K. Rowling has to say about failure:

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might have well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”

Michael Jordan

After being cut from his high school basketball team, he went home locked himself in his room and cried but went on to become the greatest basketball player in history.  This is what Michael Jordan has to say about failure:

I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Walt Disney

Fired from a newspaper for lacking imagination and having no original ideas but went on to create Walt Disney Productions, one of the best-known motion picture producers in the world.  This is what Walt Disney has to say about failure:

All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

Albert Einstein

He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost 4 years old and his teachers said he would “never amount to much” but went on to become one of the greatest scientific minds in history and won the Nobel prize in physics.  This is what Albert Einstein has to say about failure:

You never fail until you stop trying.”


A High School dropout, whose personal struggles with drugs and poverty culminated in an unsuccessful suicide attempt.  He went on  to be one of the best-selling artists in the world, selling more than 100 million albums worldwide.  This is what Eminem has to say about failure:

Success is my only motherf*cking option, failure’s not.

Abraham Lincoln

His fiancé died, failed in business, had a nervous breakdown and was defeated in 8 elections but he went on to become the 16th President of the United States.  This is what Abraham Lincoln has to say about failure:

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.

Fail and then Go On

Critics are the people who will point out your failures and harshly criticize you for it.  They will bring you down and try to define you by any failure they see.  If we take what our critics say to heart then we won’t amount to nothing.  Discovering you means that you find who you are and measure your success against what you believe to be true about yourself. More often than not your critics are the ones who are sitting in a safe place and risking nothing.  They are bound by insecurity and fear and the best they can do is mock your attempts to actually get out there and do something.  If you listen to what others say about you and take it to heart then you might end up aborting your potential.  Critics will always exist and be telling you things about yourself.  This will never change.

However, what can change is what you do with what the critics say.  Do you take what they say to heart and allow their words to mould you or do you use their words to strengthen and sharpen you so that you can become more?  Judge for yourself whether the person speaking into your life is a critic or a supporter by seeing the action and fruit of their life.  There are times when a supporter will point out the truth, this is a good thing even if it hurts.  However, a supporter is wanting you to succeed and a critic wants you to fail.  Listen to your supporters, ignore your critics.  Believing in yourself is far more valuable that believing in what other people have to say.  The truth is that you are not perfect.  Yes, you have faults and areas that need development and that is perfectly fine.

Your critics can help you see these weaknesses quicker than anyone else will but you must have the wisdom to be able to know what is true and what is not.  Use what is true and ignore what is not but take nothing into your heart unless it helps you become a better version of you.

So how do you turn your failure into profit?  You step on it.  You use it.  You make sure that you choose to see failure as your opportunity.  Who knows, maybe one day you will be writing your story of success and your quote on what you have to say about failure.

An extract from the book Being You.

Angela De Souza  – Women’s Business Club

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